*The 2015 Draft*
As I mentioned on the previous page, Cotton was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 draft by Carolina, 169th overall (nice). A native of Parker, Texas, Cotton was playing at a US Prep school hockey program when he was picked. He dominated at that program, but the level of competition likely worried scouts of his potential upside, causing him to slide in the draft.
For what it’s worth, he was ranked #62 by NA Central Scouting, and #74 by hockeyprospects.com, so he had some real pedigree in his draft year. A scouting profile of him on eliteprospects said the following of Cotton at the time:
"“Possesses a prolific skill set; he can snap the puck to the back of the net, make a seemingly tricky pass look easy, or hold onto the puck and establish a firm forecheck until the right opportunity shows itself. All-in-all, a player who has the ability to dominate offensively and defensively due to his size, speed, individual skills, and intelligence with and without the puck” – eliteprospects on Cotton in 2014-15."
Obviously, the Canes were prepared to wait for Cotton, who’d already committed to Boston College back in early 2014 – over a year before being drafted. Cotton spent his draft+1 year with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, where he posted 15 goals and 15 assists in 48 games with a team-worst -12 rating.
After that season got him acclimated to the test of solid competition, Cotton began his journey at Boston College, where he’s since gone on to become a top prospect.